RE: Are you debating the elimination of printed docs? (An idea. . .)

Subject: RE: Are you debating the elimination of printed docs? (An idea. . .)
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 2000 15:42:37 -0500

As I read through this thread, I keep hearing in my mind an old Roman and an
old Egyptian debating the relative merits of the papyrus sheet versus the
scroll.

It occurs to me that the debate about the relative merits of e-books or
other electronic solutions will not be settled by those of us who grew up on
paper books. Eventually, we will die and our descendants, if we have them,
will determine what will be their best medium for accessing information. My
prejudice in favor of the printed page will not matter to them a bit if they
grow up with something generally considered superior to the bound book.

I have observed that nearly all people who get their information
electronically (from the web or electronic file) invariably print it if the
information is long enough or they want to port it. Will that change with
the e-book? Only if it is perceived to be at least as convenient as the
bound one is. I don't read long things on the screen. (I can't take the
terminal to the bathtub with me, yet.) I print them and read them from the
page. I see a lot of people doing that with electronic information at work,
too.

Perhaps I, too, am a dinosaur. Still, my job is to develop it and make it
as convenient to access as I can given the tools I have at my disposal. I
do try to suggest, direct, or influence how it is "published." But I'm not
the ultimate authority. Interestingly enough, the user makes the ultimate
decisions.

Tom Murrell




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